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  • Author or Editor: M. Schnelle x
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Floricultural producers, cut flower wholesalers, mass market retailers and general retailers were surveyed to compare and contrast the industry in terms of attitudes and problems. Questions involved general business information, as well as specific crops. Overall, all four segments of the industry were neutral to negative on potted flowering plants, but were positive to neutral on bedding and foliage plants. However, producers were slightly negative concerning the postharvest life of bedding plants. While cut flower wholesalers had a positive attitude concerning cut flowers, retailers and mass marketers tended to be neutral to negative. In particular, retailers and mass marketers felt cut flowers were too expensive and too short lived. Floral preservatives were used by 81.6% of general retailers, while only 18.8% of mass market retailers used preservatives. All cut flower wholesalers used preservatives. Capital availability and market demand were the factors most limiting to expansion for producers and general retailers; mass market firms listed competition as their most limiting factor. Results from other questions will also be provided.

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Oklahoma floriculture producers, ornamental-horticulture retailers, mass-market retailers, and cut-flower wholesalers were surveyed to compare and contrast the industry in terms of attitudes towards their products and problems. Overall, attitudes of all four segments of the industry were neutral to negative on potted flowering plants, but were positive to neutral on bedding and foliage plants. However, producers were slightly negative concerning the postharvest life of bedding plants. While cut-flower wholesalers had a positive attitude concerning cut flowers, ornamental-horticulture retailers and mass-marketers tended to be neutral to negative. In particular, retailers and mass-marketers believed that cut flowers were too expensive and too short-lived. Floral preservatives were used by 82% of ornamental-horticulture retailers, while only 19% of mass-market retailers used preservatives. All cut-flower wholesalers used preservatives. Capital availability and market demand were the factors most limiting expansion for producers and ornamental-horticulture retailers; whereas mass-market firms listed competition as their most limiting factor.

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Oklahoma Proven (OKP) is a plant promotion and evaluation program designed to help consumers choose plants appropriate for Oklahoma gardens. Aiding consumers with plant selection will lead to greater gardening success, enthusiasm, and increased sales for Oklahoma green industries. There are two major facets to the program: marketing, coordinated by Dr. Lou Anella, and evaluation, coordinated by Dr. Michael Schnelle. Plants to be promoted by OKP will be selected by an OKP executive committee based on recommendations from an OKP advisory committee comprised of industry professionals, cooperative extension specialists and educators, Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum affiliate members, and Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture faculty. Plants chosen for OKP must meet the following selection criteria: appropriate for gardens throughout the state of Oklahoma; readily available in the trade; limited input required, i.e. few pest or disease problems, tolerant of Oklahoma's diverse soil types and weather conditions; noninvasive; can be profitably produced. The OKP Advisory Board selected the following OKP Selections for 2000: Taxodium distichum; Spiraea japonica `Magic Carpet'; Verbena canadensis `Homestead Purple'; and Scaevola aemula. Promotional materials, such as posters and signs, will be available just after the first of the year, and the promotional push will begin in early March. Posters and signs will be distributed to retailers throughout the state free-of-charge and pot stakes and hang tags will be sold to wholesalers as a means of generating income for the Oklahoma Proven program. OKP plants will also be promoted through the television show “Oklahoma Gardening,” extension newsletters, and the press.

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Rock garden plants, typically alpine in nature, are indigenous to higher elevations and thus perform poorly in the South. Consequently, they are not adapted to environments with tight clay soils, extreme heat, high humidity, and periodic drought. A video and extension circular were produced to demonstrate the construction, planting and maintenance of an appealing yet durable rock garden for Oklahoma. Modifications in soil type, plant materials, and arrangement of rock, wherein small micro-habitats are created, comprise the core of the project. The aforementioned educational materials benefit the gardening public with previously unavailable information for Oklahoma. The video is included in the Oklahoma State Univ. Cooperative Extension Service video library, where it is available via rental or purchase. It provides informative visual instruction, complementing the written publication that outlines stepwise construction techniques coupled with a list of adaptable plants. Both the publication and video may have applications for gardeners in peripheral states.

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Oklahoma Proven is a plant evaluation and marketing program developed by the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Oklahoma State University. An advisory committee comprised of representatives from state agencies, industry, and Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum Affiliate Gardens makes plant recommendations to an executive committee which in turn selects one tree, shrub, perennial, and annual for promotion each year. Trees and shrubs are selected 3 to 5 years ahead of promotion while perennials and annuals are selected 1 to 2 years in advance to give nurseries time to increase production. Marketing includes posters, billboards, pot stakes, and hang tags with the Oklahoma Proven logo and related extension service programming and news coverage. Consumers appreciate having help selecting plants and one retail nursery reported an 81% increase in sales of Oklahoma Proven plants. Funding for the program is provided by industry, Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, and a grant from Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

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The Southern Extension and Research Activities/Information Exchange Group-27 (SERA/IEG-27) is sponsored by the Southern Association of Agricultural Experiment Station Directors. Thirteen universities and the U.S. National Arboretum cooperate with official representatives from extension and research programs. The objective of the group is to identify, evaluate, select, and disseminate information on superior, environmentally sustainable, landscape plants for nursery crop production and landscape systems in the southeastern U.S. Plants are distributed to members responding to a request from cooperators for plant evaluation. Those who agree to cooperate are expected to grow the selected liner to landscape size, then transplant it in a landscape setting. The plant is rated for insect, disease, and cold damage, heat stress, growth rate, ornamental flowering and fruiting, fall color, commercial production potential, landscape potential, invasiveness potential, and insect disease transmission potential. Growth rate is evaluated annually by recording plant height and width. Initial bloom date is reported followed by bloom duration in days. Following evaluation, the group collectively and individually disseminates information gained from the plant evaluation system to a wide variety of audiences.

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